Alopecia Areata: Symptoms & Signs

Alopecia areata is a common skin disease. In alopecia areata, the reaction causes hair loss on the scalp, face, and sometimes other areas of the body. It affects people of all racial groups, sexes, and ages. Alopecia areata usually begins in childhood.

Signs and symptoms of alopecia areata include

  • gray and white hairs in areas of hair loss,
  • small round or oval bald patches on the scalp, and
  • patchy hair loss.

In certain cases, there can be total loss of scalp hair, but most cases involve patchy hair loss. In alopecia areata, the hair follicles remain alive, so that it is possible to regrow hair after periods of hair loss.

Cause of alopecia areata

An autoimmune reaction, in which the body's immune system mistakenly destroys its own tissues, causes alopecia areata.

Other alopecia areata symptoms and signs

  • Gray and White Hairs in Areas of Hair Loss
  • Patchy Hair Loss
  • Small Round or Oval Bald Patches on the Scalp


Your Hair and Scalp Can Say a Lot About Your Health See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2020
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.